Childrearing

Mom Outraged To Find American Girl Dolls Don’t Pander To Her Precious Son

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Mom Outraged To Find American Girl Dolls Don t Pander To Her Precious Son boy cloth doll 153x200 jpgA mother who took her eight-year-old boy-girl twins to the American Girl store wants to know: where are all the American boy dolls? Geez, I don’t know. Have you tried, perhaps, every non-doll aisle in literally any toy store that isn’t explicitly devoted to selling female dolls?

Writer Sujatha Shenoy seems quite shocked to have happened across what is probably the only realm of toys that caters primarily to little girls instead of little boys. Sure, outside of a couple aisles devoted to pink sparkly things and play kitchen sets with beaming little girls on the front of the box, boys are king to in the land of Legos, the arena of action figures, and the full gamut of gaming – that’s all well and good. But boys aren’t equally represented on the doll aisle, and that’s a grave injustice! Come on: if you go to a store whose name contains the word ‘girl’ and are unhappy to find that, for once, boys aren’t front and center, I’m not sure what to tell you.

First of all, while I’m sure it’s nice to play with a doll that looks like you, I’m also sure that a boy playing with a girl doll is probably not the end of the world. I’d offer as proof the fact that I played with 90% male Lego figures as a kid, but then of course, male is the standard, normal flavor of human, while female toys represent a niche interest. Still, I think if I could relate to a stubbly Lego dude with an eyepatch, it shouldn’t be that hard for a young boy to relate to a female doll.

It’s too bad for Shenoy’s son that he can’t find a doll to represent him, and the stigma around girl toys certainly needs to go (and let me point out that this stigma stems from the way we devalue all things feminine, so it’s not exactly the boys alone who are suffering here). But, sorry kiddo: welcome to how the rest of the toy store must look to your twin sister. And it’s definitely Shenoy’s daughter who I feel sorrier for here, since her mother comes right out and says that a girl can find herself represented in toys no matter what she wants to be:

It’s so different if you are a girl. There is a conscious effort to make sure that girls can picture themselves doing anything; yes, not only the American Girl dolls but also Lego Friends with girl figurines doing different things.

Ah yes, every girl can surely find herself a role model in the Lego Friends; as long as she wants to grow up to be a baker, a pony enthusiast, or a barista at a juice bar. Just stay on the doll aisle, little girls, because you’re sure not going to find many superheroine action figures or t-shirts, historical and technical Lego sets, or action toys catered to you.

I took a quick spin around the Internet, and while it’s true I didn’t find the Thomas Edison doll that Shenoy was hoping for, I did find Ken dolls, boy cloth dolls, super fancy boy dolls, dorky boy dolls with pageboy haircuts, founding father dolls, boy Bratz dolls, and even boy dolls that look kind of like serial killers. Options! There’s also apparently an entire online cottage industry that revolves around turning American Girl dolls into American boy dolls, mostly by ordering a doll without hair and then buying a wig from one of the multitudinous doll accessory shops you can find online.

I hope Shenoy’s son finds a doll he’s happy to play with, whether that’s the swashbuckling historical hero doll his mother wants, or the girl dolls that make up the more easily-found options. I also hope Shenoy realizes that the world of toys isn’t quite as full of options for little girls as she might think. And most of all, I hope that her daughter gets the message that her options aren’t limited to what’s presented to her into the slim pickings of the doll aisle.

(Image: Amazon)

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